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The Cinematic Katzenjammer: Feb 8: Exam


Feb 8: Exam

"Eight talented candidates have reached the final stage of selection to join the ranks of a mysterious and powerful corporation."

   I have always been a fan of movies set in a single setting. Films that rely heavily on the actors and the characters and not something with a bunch of special effects and epic camera shots of sweeping landscapes (see 12 Angry Men, Rear Window, Sleuth, Hard Candy). This method of storytelling, however, can be a movie's greatest or weakest asset. In Exam, the single setting works well and, although the acting was nothing Oscar worthy, the performances by these eight actors make the film believable and engaging. The plot is simple, eight people enter a room where they are simply asked to answer one question, and thus earn the job at one of the world's most successful corporations. I guess that's, in a way, almost like sitting in a room with seven other strangers all vying for a greeter position at Walmart. 

He fought off seven other people, but he sure as hell earned that job. 

   Now when you have a film with really no special effects, it becomes heavily reliant on the acting and the script. Exam has solid acting coming from all eight lead characters and, over time, each one's motive for earning the position at the corporation gradually becomes clear. The cast is diverse and never is bias in forcing you to cheer for any one individual. The script is equally clever and although the first act suffers from a rather slow pace, once Exam gets going, the film becomes rather insanely interesting. The last twenty minutes or so are filled with unexpected twists and surprises, and the whole ordeal comes to a great conclusion. 

Unlike in high school, when your exams end with more work and... gym. 

   Overall, Exam brings something fresh to the table. Before I saw the film, I was thinking it was going to be another Saw ripoff but was surprised that it relied much more on the acting and the script rather than gore and guts. In fact, for any of you weary movie watchers, Exam has very little blood. In the end, I would recommend Exam, as it turns out to be a nice little psychological mind game. 

The Good:
A very original and clever script with good acting 
The Bad:
The film starts really slow, but luckily does catch up and end well
The Ugly:
A couple of handfuls of seemingly unnecessary sci-fi elements and of the eight, I found one of the women rather... "off" (her acting sucked)

Overall: 7.2/10

Best Quote:
Invigilator: "There is one question before you, and one answer is required. If you try to communicate with myself or the guard, you will be disqualified. If you spoil your paper, intentionally or accidentally, you will be disqualified. If you choose to leave this room for any reason, you will be disqualified." 

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